Religion and Spiritualism


How a Mainstream Historical Method Creates Its Own Jesus

Authors: Thomas Colignatus

Lendering (2014) "Israël verdeeld" (Israel divided) - henceforth JLIV - claims to present a history of the Jewish world in 180 BC - 70 AD. The book has mixed features of a scholarly book and a book to popularise historical findings for a general audience. JLIV frames Jesus as a historical figure. JLIV also discusses the historical method but not the criticism about it for its application to Jesus. The author adheres to the motto: "Relevance is the enemy of history" (J.P. Meier). The focus on the Jewish world in JLIV implies an emphasis on that Jesus was a Jew - and thus marginal to the Greek and Roman world. The implied argument is: Why would Greeks and Romans worship a Jew as their God ? JLIV does not explicitly discuss other scenario's than a historical Jesus. JLIV basically neglects the arguments of serious authors who analyse that Jesus did not exist as a historical figure, and thus is not even a legend but a myth. There are various scenarios how a Jesus as a mere idea could have come about. A possibility is that a sect of Hellenised Jews came upon the creation themselves. Another possibility is deliberate deception. JLIV does not put the Greek and Roman conquest of Israel en Judea at center stage that can explain this deception. The creed around Jesus might have been created by the Romans to pacify the religiously fanatical Jews. It is only after some centuries and by more processes that the Roman Empire eventually adopted the creed as its own, as a twist of history. For some readers it may matter whether Jesus really existed. For scientists it doesn't matter but for them science and truthfulness matter. The relevance that Meier and Lendering refer to is that people feel cheated and scientists feel distressed by religious authorities and 'scholars' who distort truth. To understand JLIV on the historical method and JLIV's response to the criticism on the historical Jesus, the readers of JLIV are not well served by JLIV itself. For this, one must look at other texts by Lendering. While Lendering may present JLIV as his position and answer, that position and answer isn't there, while what is presented elsewhere fails. Potential readers of JLIV are advised to wait for a second revised edition. Science can progress when authors are free to develop their argument but it is part of the process to respond to criticism.

Comments: 44 Pages. Not quite a book review

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Submission history

[v1] 2014-12-26 05:20:07

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